Cravings can be both psychological and physiological, but they share one commonality: You never crave cookies because your body needs sugar and flour. Your cravings for pizza, crackers, chocolate, and other highly palatable foods are a mixture of your brain chemistry and your psychological attachment to the food. If you are mentally able to refocus—say, by eating something healthy and on your plan, or focusing your mind on a challenging task—the craving will go away. The more you can refocus and move through the craving, the more infrequent your cravings will become. By the same token, the more you give in to a craving, the more frequently others will arise. Continually giving in reduces your ability to move through it, increasing the risk that they will become habitual.
Even though a trigger can activate your tastebuds in a nanosecond—”What’s the boardwalk without cotton candy!”—the secret to not caving to a craving is to respond just as fast. It’s a fact: The most effective technique to stop a craving is urge surfing.
Urge surfing is a lot like riding the waves on a surfboard, only you’re doing it in your head. As a wave (your craving) builds, it comes on strong, then it subsides as it gets close to the shore. Then another wave approaches, coming on strong again, then it moves on to the shore. The idea of this technique is to surf the urge rather than fight it. Just let it come, then ride it until it subsides.
Every single time you feel a craving coming on, turn to this exercise. The more you practice it, the more successful you’ll be at it, and your cravings will become few and far between. Start here: